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in the last four years, during the daunting challenges of the worse in iraq and afghanistan have been truly remarkable and the nation owes him our deepest gratitude. it is appropriate at today's hearing also to note the passing last week of former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, retired arm general john shalikashivili. his personal story is well known, rising from post-world war ii immigrant youth to chairman of the joint chiefs. his example of patriotism, leadership and selfless service to the nation and our armed forces inspired the generation that leads our military today. for those of us who knew him, we treasured his professionalism, his candor, and his deep love for america and our men and women in uniform. general denver mpsey's confirma will help the transition to president obama's new security team which have seen significant changes in the last few months. the next chairman will face demanding challenges, operations in afghanistan and iraq continue to at the same time the fiscal realities that confront the nation will put tremendous pressures on the defense department's bud
, and taking into account significant gains made in u.s. operations and against al qaeda in afghanistan and pakistan over the past year, counterterrorism efforts in yemen must be a central focus of our national security strategy. that said, our -- closely in line with political, economic and developmental challenges as well. those challenges are those that the united states must work to address as part of a holistic approach to this challenge. first of all, just outlined three. three priorities. first, we need a better understanding of the political opposition and prospects for democratic reform. acting president, the vice president in yemen, as only a small power base in the opposition appears fractured between the so-called joint meeting parties, jmp. and other individuals such as the former commander of the first armored division and check out omar, leader of the powerful fellow. over the weekend elements of the opposition asked the formation of a shadow government to the composition and support, i should say though the -- for those the composition and support for the group remains u
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